Today's cloud-based technology can offer more than the well-understood benefits of shifting the financial burden of maintaining applications and hardware and delivering much-more-rapid software innovation
If nothing else, cloud technology has simplified the IT landscape, reducing the pressure on businesses to manage hundreds of different applications for myriad different purposes. “I don’t think we’ll return to the complexity we created in the past,” said Oracle CEO Mark Hurd during a keynote presentation on March 21 at Oracle Industry Connect here.
The current generation of Oracle financial, HR, and other applications that are used broadly across industries is built on the same code base, making it easier for those applications to interoperate, Hurd said. Oracle is “working to do the same” for applications that address specific retail, hospitality, health sciences, and other industry needs, he said.
The overarching value proposition of cloud technology is that its providers are now taking on the cost of developing and enhancing it, putting together hardware, platform, and infrastructure ecosystems and assembling suites of applications rather than selling “piece parts you assemble then yourself,” Hurd said.
The resulting savings by not having to buy lots of servers and run data centres “is what has driven this momentum” swelling the sails of cloud technology, he said.
The attraction to CEOs and CFOs is obvious: “If I can move capital investment off my balance sheet and onto somebody else’s, that is a big deal,” Hurd said.
Hurd also said that while the technology industry represents only 3% of global output, it helps companies in every other industry as well with the other 97% of worldwide wealth creation, and it allows the smallest companies to compete against the largest. “IT creates a level playing field across industries, and in many cases intra-industry,” he said. “The only differentiator you have now is your brand and your level of service.”
Oracle is also working to integrate cutting-edge technologies such as machine learning into business applications across industries, Hurd said in response to a question from the audience.
Hurd was critical of the Silicon Valley culture of creating buzzwords for technologies that don’t have much utility. “We’re creating specific outcomes for specific business problems,” he said, “rather than creating solutions that are looking for a problem.”
This need for a “common view of data” is the reason why eventually, “suites will win” over so-called “best-of-breed” applications, he said